Algeria: Working with NGOs to support people living with HIV and people who use drugs during COVID19

26 August 2020 - Algiers, Algeria 

With the COVID-19 outbreak, prevention, access to treatment and medical care were drastically challenged, thus increasing the vulnerabilities of people living with HIV. People who use drugs and living with HIV can also be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to underlying health issues, stigma, social marginalization and higher economic and social vulnerabilities, including a lack of access to housing and health care.

In that context, several countries implemented specific measures to prevent the spreading of the infection within vulnerable communities. The Government of Algeria, through its Ministry of Health (MoH), requested people living with HIV and people who use drugs to avoid visiting hospitals and medical centers in order not to be exposed to COVID-19 infection risks.

As part of this preventive strategy, the MoH increased its partnership with local NGOs and collaborated with the UN in Algeria to deliver treatment to people living with HIV and people who use drugs.

UNODC and UNAIDS supported three NGOs in Algiers, Oran, Annaba with telephone cards and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to support them in continuing the provision of HIV, HCV and other low-threshold services for an initial period of three months.

This support allowed the NGOs to

- reach over 200 key at-risk individuals with sterilized injecting equipment,

- disseminate COVID-19 trusted, adapted and reliable advice and information to people use drugs and people living with HIV through dedicated social network groups and

- raise awareness of key at-risk population regarding HIV testing and counseling, prevention of sharing of equipment including all injecting equipment as well as tourniquets, pipes, bongs, joints and nasal tubes during COVID-19 pandemic.

This story is part of many stories reflecting our efforts in response to COVID-19. Follow UNODC ROMENA dedicated COVID-19 updates’ webpage and our twitter @UNODC_ROMENA , Facebook UNODCROMENA , LinkedIn UNODC ROMENA , and Youtube UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA) to know more about UNODC regional action in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). 

For More Information: 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - UNODC ROMENA Updates

Mental Health Matters: UNODC Support for People Who Use Drugs During COVID19

Leaving No One Behind: UNODC Regional Response to COVID-19